'Vile and disgusting': Leeds IT teacher caught with sickening child sex abuse images

A teacher from Leeds was caught with "vile and disgusting" images of children aged as young as two years old being sexually abused.

By Tony Gardner
Friday, 3rd January 2020, 3:22 pm
Updated Friday, 3rd January 2020, 3:49 pm

Mark Duckworth accessed images that were in the most serious category of offending from his family home in Leeds.

The 64-year-old IT teacher was seen desperately trying to use his laptop when West Yorkshire Police officers executed a search warrant at his home on Hetton Road, Roundhay, in January last year.

Leeds Crown Court heard Duckworth was working as a supply teacher at the time and had been in education for 40 years.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

Former teacher Mark Duckworth leaves Leeds Crown Court after being sentenced for making indecent images of children

Officers seized two laptop devices which were analysed and found to contain 46 illegal images.

A total of 29 images were at category A - the most serious level of offending - and involved the graphic sexual abuse of children aged between two and 15 years of age.

The computers were fitted with cleaning equipment and there was evidence that Duckworth had used the dark web to access the images.

The children in the images were NOT connected with schools where Duckworth had worked.

Duckworth pleaded guilty to four offences of making indecent images of children.

The court heard Duckworth had been interviewed about the offending and claimed not to have a sexual interest in children.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: "Another one who says 'I have no sexual interest in children'. I do not believe a word of it."

Martin Morrow, mitigating, said Duckworth had lost his job as a result of the convictions and would no longer be able to work in education.

He said: "He has lost his good character. When I saw him this morning he was upset about the possible outcome of the hearing."

Mr Morrow said Duckworth had accessed the images after drinking alcohol and needed help to address his drink problem.

Mr Morrow said Duckworth's wife was continuing to support him and he was willing to attend a programme designed to address his offending if a prison sentence was suspended.

Judge Geoffrey Marson QC said: "You are 64 years of age and for very many years you were a teacher and when you retired you became a supply teacher.

"Before this you had lived a decent and honest and hard working life.

"You have no previous convictions.

"For reasons which it is difficult to understand, other than you having a sexual interest in children, you had downloaded a number of movies.

"These images showed children aged two to 15 years of age.

"These are vile and disgusting images.

"The agony to which those children are subjected by perpetrators of these acts cannot adequately be described in words.

"By downloading and viewing these you, in your own way, contribute to their misery and degradation.

"You should be thoroughly ashamed of you behaviour."

Duckworth was given an eight-month prison sentence, suspended for two years.

He was also ordered to attend 30-day rehabilitation activity requirement days and do 100 hours of unpaid work.

Duckworth was also ordered to go on the sex offender register for ten years.